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Painful brands

By Nickunj Malik - Nov 14,2018 - Last updated at Nov 14,2018

The problem with the garment industry is that they charge you for their label. What is a label? It is this rectangular tag that is sewn onto any piece of clothing that you buy, usually at the back of a dress/shirt or the waistband of the pants/shorts — the two most sensitive places in any individual’s body.

Why do they do that? In practical terms, it marks the ownership of the product, like granting copyright to the apparel, so to speak. But in actual fact, it is to irritate the buyer.

It is almost as if all the fashion houses share a private joke at our expense, literally and figuratively. They persuade us to part with humungous sums of our money and then make us wear outfits that constantly keep reminding us of our folly. Through these prickly little stickers that scratch the back of the neck and waist, that is.

It is not easy to get rid of them, let me tell you. If you have not observed it before, turn the collar of your shirt and examine it right now. You will notice that the bit of cloth, with one end stitched in and the other hanging free, is made of a thicker material than the rest of it. It is also sewed up with extra strong thread. There is no point pulling it too because it never comes off. The buttons, bows and the other embellishments in the blouse might, but the label? Never!

Therefore, in order to dispense with them, one has to cut them off, and that is what is tragic. One pays an exorbitant price for a particular ensemble because of the branded name that is marked on its label, but before wearing it, one is compelled to immediately remove the same. If one does not do so, before long, a severe skin rash definitely appears on the skin because of the irritating chafing of the harsh label, I mean. 

So, the first thing one must do after purchasing a dress is to detach its price tag — however strong the urge is to boast about it, it is simply not polite to publicly display the cost of any item. Immediately after that one should start working on removing the label. This is not as easy as it sounds because, like I mentioned earlier, extra strong thread is utilised to stitch it into the fabric. 

I have tried using the pointy end of safety pins and sewing needles to pull out the stitching but it does not budge from its place. My fingertips have got bloodied in the process but more often than not, the sturdy labels have held on.

Subsequently I bought a pair of tiny clippers for this purpose. These are shaped like shears but have extra sharp edges around them. However, they work like a double-edged sword because if one is not careful whilst using them, the material around the label may get nicked too. And for someone who is incompetent with needlework, that is a doomsday-like scenario scenario. 

Recently I borrowed a shirt from my daughter’s wardrobe. Within minutes of wearing it, the label started pricking my neck.

“Why are you frowning?” asked my husband.

I ignored him. 

“Such a pain in the neck!” I muttered. 

“This shirt is biting me,” I growled loudly. 

“Is it barking as well?” my spouse joked.

“At this precise moment, I can do both,” I threatened.

“Let me get the scissors,” he announced, backing off.

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